Ellen Sussman pays homage to the beloved City of Lights in her second novel French Lessons, a literary tour through the arrondissements that explores how traveling and learning a language can change both our selves and our lives. Spanning the course of a single day in Paris, the book follows a trio of Americans as they traverse the streets—each with a French tutor in tow. Sussman brilliantly evokes the melancholy of Josie, a high school French teacher mourning the loss of her lover; the chaos that encompasses Riley, an ex-pat with two kids and a crumbling marriage; and the temptation of Jeremy, who is killing time while his wife, an international movie star, logs long days on set. Much is discovered in Sussman’s pages—not just the overlooked corners of Paris itself but her characters’ unexplored inner lives. Here, the creative-writing teacher weighs in on her time in Paris, her lackluster French skills and why she loves writing sex scenes.
Three attractive French tutors guide each of their American charges through an unforgettable day in Paris.
Meeting regularly at a café before work, colleagues Chantal, Philippe and Nico teach private language sessions and have what might be described as a complex (or just French) relationship. Read full book review >